A 3,000-YEAR-OLD gold Bronze Age neck ring is set to go on display for the first time ever at Colchester Castle.

The newly-discovered Torc was found at Great Dunham, Norfolk, and can be seen by the public as part of the castle's latest exhibition amongst a hoard of contemporary jewellery fragments from Woodham Walter in Essex.

Torcs were ostentatious neck rings marking the social status of their wearers and the Great Dunham example was found buried complete in what could have been part of a ritual offering or in preparation for a period of inter-tribal warfare.

The fragments found in Essex however are believed to have been deliberately cut up leading archaeologists to believe they were from a metalworker's hoard.

Research suggests they may have been a sacrificial offering from a larger collection of metals set to be recycled for a new high-status object.

Glynn Davis, senior curator at Colchester Museums, said: "The Great Dunham Torc is a stunning object which is hard to believe is more than 3000-years-old.

"It shows what our own hoard of damaged Torcs would have looked like when complete but may also demonstrate changing fashions and religious behaviours toward the end of the Bronze Age.”

The Great Dunham Torc has been loaned to Colchester Castle by Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and forms part of Adorn: Jewellery, The Human Story - the castle's first exhibition since 2014.

Julie Young, councillor responsible for culture and performance, added: "Like many of the objects within the exhibition, the Torc tells a fascinating story researchers are only now beginning to uncover."

Visit colchester.cimuseums.org.uk/adorn.